A script typeface can add flair, distinctiveness, and personality to a project. Scripts can be a great choice for invitations and announcements, headlines and movie titles, posters and advertisements, branding, greeting cards, book covers, t-shirts, and keepsakes. Finding the right script can be arduous, due to the abundance of decorative digital fonts. You can narrow your search by considering these factors before beginning your exploration:
- Desired Mood & Tone:
With scripts, this is first and foremost. It might be very formal for a wedding invitation, romantic for a Valentine’s Day greeting card, casual for a product branding or ad, or even creepy for a gothic movie title or poster.
Identify the range of sizes at which the script will be used, and select a typeface that looks good and reproduces well at all of them. Some scripts look their best at larger sizes, while others – such as handwriting typestyles – are intended for text. A design that looks great as a headline may not be as effective for smaller text, and vice versa.
The amount of text to be set should also impact your choice. Some scripts, such as Spencerian scripts, are elaborate designs with highly decorative elements, making them most effective for short settings; others have a higher degree of legibility, and can be used for blocks of text.
Some fonts are highly legible and easy to read at all sizes; others are less so, possibly because they have a very short x-height, are ultra condensed, or simply because their design characteristics reduce their legibility. Keep in mind that just because a design is not highly legible doesn’t mean it might not be a good choice for certain usages.
- Features and customization
Some OpenType fonts contain a multitude of glyphs, including numerous swash characters, alternate letterforms and figures, discretionary ligatures, and flourishes. If you want to be able to customize and personalize your script setting, look for one that offers many options.
- Foreign language support
If you need to set the script in more than one language, check that the font(s) you consider include all of the foreign language characters you need. OpenType Pro fonts support a broad range of foreign languages, so they are often a good choice for multi-language projects
- Printing method
Your intended reproduction method (digital, offset, letterpress, screen printing) as well as the intended surface (coated or uncoated paper, fabric, plastic, glass, etc.) can have an impact on the script you choose. Many scripts have thin strokes that run the risk of either breaking up or disappearing entirely. Counters may tend to fill when used with some printing methods and surfaces. Take this into account, and when in doubt, check with your printer, who should be able to give you some guidelines.
If a piece will be reproduced digitally, on the web or other devices, at low resolution, be sure to select a script that will maintain its integrity at the intended resolution. Once again, make sure thins hold up, small counters don't fill in, and very condensed forms don’t bleed into each other.
- Editor’s Note:Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 4th edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.